It was quite a challenging time at the Lake Country Food Bank on March 17 as the organization saw a significant increase in assistance applications just in one day, according to manager Joy Haxton.
“We expected that there would be an increase in people asking for help. We knew that our folks that were marginal were going to react much the same as the general public has,” she said.
“That’s exactly what happened but I’m not sure we were quite ready for the numbers.”
Haxton said the influx of residents needing assistance has resulted in the food bank going through three months’ supply of essentials in recent days. She said they haven’t asked for donations from the public because she knew those who donate will also be struggling, but also because they wanted to keep people safe.
“A lot of our (physical) donations are coming from the people that are the closest to being in need and right now, they just don’t have the extra to share. And it’s not like you can just pop into the store and get that extra, it’s so busy in there that it’s really not safe to have those stores so overcrowded,” she said.
She added they closed the food bank to walk-ins and have asked those who need assistance to register for a pre-assembled food hamper and arrange a time for delivery or pick up, where staff will give the hamper to residents at the parking lot. But Haxton said residents have been so worried that they still show up at the food bank’s doors, hoping to pick up necessities.
“We want to create some distancing to keep residents and our volunteers safe, but that’s difficult when people don’t listen. I really want to stress that people shouldn’t drop-in,”
“I think it’s always that fear that we’re going to run out. We’re low on supplies, but we’re not running out and we’ll get our shelves restocked.”
“We understand this is an extremely stressful time for people, but we will process applications as fast as we can.”
Haxton said she has reached out to their retail partners and they are now working on restocking the food bank.
Should you be able to donate, Haxton said they would appreciate monetary donations through their website.